I realized a little something last week – namely, that I had written a post about stay-at-home-moms and work-from-home-moms, but two of my first commenters were a childfree MAN and a work-from-home DAD. We hear a lot about Childfree women feeling marginalized by society, but jeez, what about the Childfree men? Even I’M marginalizing them.
Part of it may be that they haven’t kicked up as much of a fuss as their female counterparts; their voices just aren’t being heard. And I can’t say I blame them – it’d be nice to fly more easily under the radar and not be subject to a barrage of BINGO comments from parents. But how DO they manage to do that?
The Biological Advantage – or Disadvantage?
I have to believe it’s got something to do with the biology of the situation. Society views an aging childless woman with a watchful eye, ever mindful of the expiration date on our eggs. But with men able to father children into their seventies (eww), they’re given a fairly large length of rope. Rather than warnings about ticking clocks, they get jokes about settling down and “boys will be boys” type comments. Instead of being classified as cold or heartless or weird, they’re usually chuckled over as immature playboys or perma-bachelors.
At first blush, it may seem that women are getting the short end of the stick, but I’m actually not sure which gender has it worse! At least with most women, the needling wears off somewhere in the early forties. For men, it’s just getting starting. They’re getting the extended deluxe version of our old favorite comment: “Oh, you’ve got time!” Who knows how long that may go on for them? And commentary from friends and family is really the least of their worries when you take a closer look at…
The Childfree Man’s Dating Game
A friend of mine told me the other day that he almost exclusively pursues younger women now. Sounds like a trophy-wife-seeking cliché, right? But that’s not it – he says the women he meets that are his age (a ripe old 33) come on way too strong, have that Baby Rabies glint in their eye, and make it all too clear that they’re ready to be a mom, like, yesterday. It’s not really their fault – if they want to have babies in their mid-thirties, they truly do need to get a move on it, and don’t have a tremendous amount of time to waste on a man who won’t work out. My friend actually does want to have kids, but these overdrive female biological clocks make it impossible to tell if they’re actually interested in him, or just his fathering potential.
I can only imagine what dating must be like for the guys who don’t want kids. Though I know many guys who want to be Dads, I haven’t met any that I could classify as truly baby-crazy. Women, on the other hand…I know several who openly classify themselves as such, and quite a few more who could be diagnosed with Baby Fever by anyone engaging them in conversation for longer than a minute and a half. I have to imagine it’s rather frightening to be sitting on the other side of the speed-dating table from them. But imagine how slim the pickins are for the guys who tick off the “not interested in kids” option on eHarmony!
Speak Up, Boys
It’s funny that this is my first post that really brings in the male side of things. I keep thinking my audience is entirely women, but you fellas keep surprising me when you leave a comment or bring up my blog if I see you out and about, when I never in a million years would have guessed you’d be reading this. So, many thanks to my dude-followers* – particularly those of you adding to the conversation. I wish I could hear from more of you to make this a well-rounded dialogue.
So what do you think, boys? Do you have it worse than us ladies?
*An extra-special thanks goes to my favorite dude follower – happy belated Father’s Day, Dad! Thanks for not being one of the aforementioned Childfree men. Oh, and for working your ass off for the past 38+ years to give us a good life. But mostly Dad, thank you for having such an amazing mustache in our youth, and not teaching me to drive the John Deere. There’s no doubt in my mind, I would have wrecked it.
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